Eight years ago, Dennis Gaynor Jr.’s son Samuel was born at 28 weeks gestation weighing 1 lb. 6 oz. Mr. Gaynor was encouraged to hold his baby skin-to-skin during their hospital stay to help improve his baby’s blood oxygen levels, sleep, temperature, breastfeeding and weight gain. Kangaroo Care was a new concept for Mr. Gaynor.
“[I] didn’t realize that this is such a great way to bond with Sam. But I did it with no hesitation and I’m enjoying every minute, second, and hour,” Mr. Gaynor shared. “The thought of my heart beat going into my sons’ ears brings a melody to my heart.”
Samuel’s mother also held him skin-to-skin and provided her milk which helped them endure several surgeries throughout his first few years of life.
Mr. Gaynor says that he continued to hold Sam skin-to-skin after they were discharged from the hospital. “He was so small, I was scared to hold him, but that was the only other method,” he explains. “To this day, he lays on my chest; everyone else gives me a normal hug, but this is what we’ve always done.”
Mr. Gaynor and his wife run a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization called Young Men on a Mission: YMOM (pronounced why mom) established in the inner city of Milwaukee, Wis. Their programming includes mentoring, sports and work training intended to help young men “gain hope in themselves to create goals that extend beyond their daily existence; retain hope when it appears that the odds are stacked against them; and dare to be somebody.” Find out more about YMOM here: https://www.youngmenonamission.org/about-us
Check out Healthy Children Project’s Kajsa Brimdyr’s The 9 Stages of Premature Infants film which shows the nine stages demonstrated by premature infants. Find more here.
For a collection of research on skin-to-skin contact visit: https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/news-and-research/baby-friendly-research/research-supporting-breastfeeding/skin-to-skin-contact/
You can read Facilitating the bond between children and fathers or male-identifying partners which covers the positive effects of skin-to skin contact on paternal attachment here.